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Opera in two acts after a tale by A. Pushkin

Composer: Shostakovich, Dmitri
Arranger: Link, Joachim-Dietrich
Lyricists: Neef, Sigrid
Playing time: 75:00
Opus/Year: 36
Genre: Opera
Instrumentation: 2(Picc),1,2(Es-Klar),2 2,2,1,1 Pk, Schl (Trgl, Ratsche, Holzbl, Tamb, kl.Tr, gr.Tr, Bk, hg.Bk, Gl, Glsp, Xyl, Vibr), Harfe, Balalaika ad lib., Akk, Streicher
Premiere performance: 25.09.1980 / Leningrad / RUS


The farmhand Balda is looking for work and the priest is looking for a farmhand. As the tribute for a year, the farmhand requests to be allowed to give his master three swats on the nose. Priest and Balda agree to the deal. The year goes by; the farmhand eats for four, works for seven and always remains cheerful. The priests daughter falls in love with him and the priests son even calls him father. Towards the end of the year, the priest sends his farmhand to the devil to request the tribute, knowing full well that no one returns from there. Balda succeeds in outwitting the devil, however, and brings the priest the owed tribute. In the end, he receives the three owed swats on the nose, the effect of which is enormous.